Phumlani S Langa sat down with dance act Uncle Vinny, the country’s new teenage sensation.
On April 24, a wild buzz sparked on social media when Uncle Vinny, whose real name is Vincent Ndlovu, hosted his 19th birthday party in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
The event quickly turned into a full-blown street bash, an outright violation of all Covid-19 regulations.
As risky and irresponsible as the celebration was, it did allude to a star power that #Trending was interested to engage with. We pulled up on Uncle Vinny at the Viacom offices in Bryanston, Joburg, where he was shooting segments for MTV Base as part of their VJ Culture Squad team.
Imagine our disappointment when this dancing amapiano sensation from Hillbrow turned out to be a petulant prima donna. He was vibrant while shooting and doing little corny dance moves between links, but he switched off as soon as the cameras stopped rolling, which made for an unpleasant and uncomfortable interview.
During his segments alongside co-host Tshego Koke, he seemed full of energy, although he had been gigging hard the night before and looked slightly worn around the edges.
“I have found it difficult to adapt to people in different spaces. There’s a sense of competition and I have been living with that since a young age. People don’t want to give you flowers and they’re envious and jealous, and would rather not see you do well.”
His party in the city caught the eye of a few celebrities, who, in an attempt to huddle under the cover of his clout, suddenly claimed allegiance to his art. This stretched as high up as people in Parliament.
EFF leader Julius Malema gave Ndlovu props and urged him to continue dancing and spreading love.
The exceedingly aloof Ndlovu said his political affiliations were nobody’s business.
“He’s my OG and appreciative of what I do. He is a supporter of the [amapiano] culture. It doesn’t mean we have a personal relationship. It’s me and my team, and we pull things off calmly.”
As for the fallout after his street bash, he responded in short before his publicist stepped in and steered the conversation towards less demanding terrain.
“I don’t want to talk about legalities,” he said with a murky attitude.
“People highlight the bad parts and not the good. The press writes screwed-up stuff. We posted that thing [the video of his bash] once and it isn’t like we promoted the party.”
According to Uncle Vinny, the press exaggerated things. Take it from someone who made the mistake of trying to go to Braamfontein on April 24 … there was no exaggeration around what happened on the block that evening when police were eventually called to put an end to the festivities.
His arms folded in a defensive manner and his eyes tucked behind dark shades, his voice filled with a touch of bass as he elaborated: “You guys [the media] don’t exaggerate #FeesMustFall stories, instead you focus on something that is dumb and stupid [his block party]. I never understand it, as it was just a party at the end of the day.”
His 19 years’ worth of wisdom tumbles out of his mouth like verbal flatulence. He feels the press is against him and summoned up a cute abbreviation to express this. He called the media “EP”.
No, not extended play – enemies of progress.
“Everyone made it look like we called everybody to come. We wanted to celebrate. It’s been a long time and this third wave has been coming for even longer. How many months have we been locked up at home? Think about it ... psychologically, it doesn’t make sense.”
What didn’t make sense to us was his subtle arrogance in dealing with the interview opportunity, cutting the session down to 15 minutes as he had sleep waiting for him at home.
Perhaps he should ask his OG buddy Juju for a few tips on how to adequately engage with us, the enemies of progress.
Oksalayo his little stunt broke the law and we overheard him murmuring about the pressure that police had been putting on him and his camp.
His team is of course all puzzled as to why the cops aren’t more concerned with cases of violence against women and children.
From where we’re sitting, this dude is a hype man with some dance moves, except he isn’t hyping a bigger and more talented act. He is the act.
A continuity presenter is now somehow being likened to acts who pack stadiums.
Bragging nonsensically, he said: “I have been on piano for a while now. People mustn’t get it twisted, I was one of the first people to say this was going to pop.”
So says the youngster who has been popping for less than a month.
He does represent a step in the right direction for dance culture, but it is still puzzling how such a large ego resides in such a small frame.
He has plans to release music, but we suggest he sticks to dance because if that little EP comment was anything to go by, he doesn’t have the chops to trade shots with real lyricists.